Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Dame Joan Sutherland

Today we mourn the loss of Dame Joan Sutherland who died on 10 October 2010 at her home in Switzerland at 83 years of age.

Born in Sydney on 7 November 1926, Dame Joan did not start a serious study of Opera until she was eighteen, while working in a secretarial job. After some success in Australia she chose to pursue an operatic career overseas. Her reputation grew following a string of performances in 1959 and 1960, but it was not until she sang Alcina in Venice she was nick named La Stupenda (“The Stunning One”).

Part of her musical and recording success can be attributed to the collaboration with husband, renowned Australian conductor and pianist Richard Bonynge who helped tailor Dame Joan’s repertoire. He also suggested her partnership with Luciano Pavatotti.

Although she refused to sing in later life, Dame Joan was still happy to hum the odd aria or concerto to herself while at home.

The Joan Sutherland Performing Arts Centre in Penrith, NSW was named in her honour and hosts several musical and theatrical events throughout the year.

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